Simple Fix: Monthly Fridge Calendar

So when I headed to Target for some organizational tools, I’m not sure that I expected the dry-erase calendar to be such a big hit. As I mentioned, three of us share a family calendar on our iPhones and you would think that this would be sufficient. I mean, I had to consult the electronic version of the family calendar to fill out this new calendar. And even as I’m filling it out for the current month, I kinda wondered if I had lost my ever-loving mind. Why was I doing double work for myself? My husband was skeptical. My children were non-interested. Had I missed my mark?

But then I put it on the fridge. You know, the one area of the house that gets the most visibility. And?

  • My husband noticed that Beezus has the SAT’s in two weeks.
  • Beezus noticed a couple of events The Dude and I have where she needs to be sure and be home on time.
  • Ramona noticed that I didn’t forget about her upcoming events.
  • The girls saw when their dad was going to be out of town and how we would coordinate.

(I’d like to say that my husband will stop teasing me that he doesn’t know when my brother’s wedding is, but we’ll applaud the progress that we’ve made.)

blurred images to protect the guilty
blurred images to protect the insanely busy

We are visual people. We have to see and see it again and again to keep it in the forefront of our very busy brains. The calendar on the iPhones are awesome and SUPER necessary, but we needed to have a global view of what’s going on in our family. A constant, visual reminder of where we need to be, what’s going on, and who it involves. It’s color coded, so everyone has a better idea of how to coordinate busy schedules. We’re not just assuming the other family members knows what’s going on. We are all looking at this same calendar.

I’m not saying we’ve solved world hunger or cured cancer, but this is a big step for us.

And since I knew that I had to change the way I thought about things, I made some changes of my own. On the same day I bought the calendar, I also purchased a notebook cover that has a clip board on the front. Tease me if you want to, but this clip board makes me happy. I’ve created a to-do list that breaks out the different areas of my life and that is always on the top of the clip board. I also include a monthly calendar for reference, some paperwork of various tasks I need to tackle and some scheduling tools that I use for blogging and social media. On the inside cover, there’s a pocket if I need to stuff something in there. And then, of course, the notebook/pad of paper for notes, etc.

I love it.

I’m not going to win any awards for my organization, but it works. Or at least it works for now until I need to adjust and make changes because my life adjusts and makes changes. We all know that my life is constantly moving and growing, so my organization has to be just as flexible as I need to be to keep up with my crazy family. But I love that, for right now, it works. And it works well.

 

I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address

I’m trying to reorganize my life. That sounds a tad overdramatic, but it’s actually kind true. My life is busy and crazy, but it also changes quite a bit. Whatever system we try to use to keep us on track may not work after a few months because someone’s schedule changes or we have a new things added to the to-do list. And sometimes, we just need to press the reset button and figure our shit out.

Beezus, The Dude and I all use a shared (iCloud) calendar to try and organize some of the crazy. But there’s always something that can’t be tracked on that sort of device. I mean, I know it doesn’t make sense, but some tasks and reoccurring appointments that are easier to track on a visible calendar or white board where the entire family can see it.

After weeks like last week and this weekend, I faced today knowing that we needed to reassess our plan of attack. Our current system just isn’t working for our life right now. And while life may settle down in a few months (yeah right) we need a way to keep things more on track.

I also am still waiting for someone to figure out how to get more hours in a day. I still need sleep. But I need more time to accomplish all this.

After a trip to Target, I feel like I’ve made a good start. (Office supplies, FTW!) I’ve picked up a couple of supplies to (hopefully) help. I need to revisit daily tasks that need to be done as well as those tasks that need to be done weekly. (And a way to track/remind myself what needs to be done.) I need to figure out meal planning because we are only home in the evening one night a week right now. (I KNOW.) Life is super overwhelming right now because just keeping everything straight is next to impossible.

Last week I posted something on Facebook that I kinda felt bad about afterwards.

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Not everyone makes the same choices as me. I get that. And sometimes I have a hard time when people say that I should do things this way or that. (Ok, I often have a hard time with that.) When your priorities and choices are different, your life will not make sense to anyone else. It just better make sense to you. All this craziness needs to be worth it in some way, shape or form. And life balance? Sometimes just doesn’t exist.

Image

I spent pretty much the entire weekend watching my kid play softball. The same kid who also had homecoming Saturday night. And whose team made it to the championship game Sunday evening. She’s busy. And our weekend was busy supporting her. But I have no regrets that I was there and didn’t miss it.

Even if that means that today I’m faced with EVERYTHING that needs to be done.

So here’s to a little reorganization. It seems like a perfect time to re-think how we do things. Fall just feels like a natural time to make some changes, even if this is probably something I should’ve done a long time ago.

Now is as good of time as any.

it’s a venti kind of Thursday

Every Monday and Wednesday, my husband (The Dude) teaches an evening class at a nearby college. I know! Our life isn’t busy enough so we threw another mound of crap on an already very full plate. But what started out as a work “I think you should do this” thing turned into “hey we could totally pay off this bill” thing. We obviously talked a lot about this before fully committing to it and decided we would try it out for a semester. And yes, I said “WE”. My Mondays and Wednesdays are now a whole lot more insane.

And they were pretty insane before.

I think since we live in a pretty constant state of busy, it’s almost like we don’t even notice when we throw another log on the busy fire. However, this week saw us have MANY scheduling conflicts and overbookings for things that were already scheduled way in advance. Which is fine. Sorta. It’s just that I am asking for help even when it’s hard to do so.

Yesterday was especially nutty. Luckily, my mom had Ramona and could hang out with her later than normal. I had gotten a ride for Beezus from her water polo game to softball practice (because logistics were impossible unless I only worked a half day) but I still needed to get her softball bag to her after leaving the office. Maybe it was lucky that we both got a little stuck in traffic, because that way we ended up at practice at the same time. As I called out my goodbye as she traded one backpack for another, I said “Hey! I’ll probably be late!” My response when she asked why? “Because my life is insane! And so is yours! Yay!” (I did have a smile on my face. Just thought I’d put that out there. It might have been an ironic, sarcastic type of smile.)

I took all the back roads as I headed home to try and avoid some of the traffic. Quick phone call to touch bases with Sarah on some important FP updates. Sang at the top of my lungs when I needed to. Pulled up to my house, knowing I would be leaving again in 15 minutes. My brother was there dropping off a chair (because, duh…doesn’t your brother drop off chairs on Wednesdays?) so a quick hello and an equally quick goodbye, and my mom (Ramona) and I were off to a family-type meeting regarding my brother’s wedding next month. A meeting I should’ve only stayed at for 20 minutes because Beezus would be done with practice soon. However, it was rather hard to leave right in the middle of plan stuffs.

So I asked for help. Again.

Wonderfully and thankfully for me, my dear friend (and another parent from the softball team) could cover for me. I was able to text everyone involved and soon enough, Beezus had a ride to their house while they waited for me to finish up. I didn’t stay too much longer, though. Just long enough for my sister in-law to call me Miss Perfect and long enough for me to be super sarcastic and crack jokes to people I didn’t know very well. (Totes normal!)

As I picked up Beezus from my sweet friend’s house, she said it sounded like the next few weeks were pretty crazy. I said yeah. She asked what she could do for me. (I love her.) I said, “Uh…THIS. This helped me a ton! Taking my child home with you saved the day.”

And then I said what I always seem to say:

I just need to get through September.”

But of course, I’m an idiot and wasn’t thinking about the aforementioned wedding next month.

“Uh. Just kidding. I just need to get through October.”

I know full well that I’ll be saying the very same thing in November and December. (Holidays. Duh.) But, for right now? Getting through the next 4-5 weeks is all I can focus on.

Now, you would think that our story would end with us heading home after that. But it doesn’t. Yes, we are as insane as you think we are, but we have family visiting from out of town (out of the country, really) and so we popped over to my in-laws to say hello while The Dude met us there. We only stayed for an hour, though…the kids had to get to bed. And I had to start a load of laundry because I really wasn’t sure what the clean underwear situation was. (Ahem. It was good I did laundry.)

Tonight doesn’t look a whole lot different, but I won’t make myself look more insane by telling you about that too. At least there is a lot less driving tonight, The Dude isn’t teaching, and I probably won’t have to start a load of clothes when I get home. However, I really should do the dishes that are beginning to pile up in the sink just in case we have company tonight after the family attends Beezus’ double-header softball games.

I’m terrible at not telling you things.

I also REALLY deserve this venti iced coffee.

venti

sometimes this is what our evenings look like

Yesterday I left work around 5:45. I was already running late to pick up Beezus from school and water polo practice when she called me.

“Um…do you have my softball bag?”

“Uh…no. Did you put it in my car?”

“Um…no. Ok. I’ll just tell coach that I’ll be late to batting practice so we can go home and get it.”

“Can’t you just use someone else’s bat?”

“MOM.”

“Beezus.”

(Exasperated sigh from both of us.)

We don’t live close to her school. We live slightly closer to where batting practice was, but driving ALL the way home and then basically ALL the way back wasn’t going to work for me. I was already solo-parenting it last night. Dropping Beezus off late would’ve made me late getting home for Ramona when my parents dropped her off.

I have nothing planned for dinner. I also don’t have much to make into dinner.

Being sick all last week has put me behind on all household things. Although, my house is pretty clean, thank you husband and my short breaks from feeling poopy.

(I still don’t feel all that great. But at least I’m better than I was.)

Ramona still had homework to do when she got home. I worry about her getting it done and still getting to bed on time.

Feed the dog. Clean up…after the dog.

Husband, thankfully, was able to pick up Beezus from batting practice, but I was already in the car and a quarter of the way there when he called. (I had no problem making THAT U-turn to head back home.)

Help Ramona with her homework. Remind Ramona that she needs to finish homework and hurry to bed because it’s getting late.

Laundry. Damn. That should’ve been started hours ago. I rushed to get that going. OH BUT WAIT. I forgot that I washed towels two days ago. So, yeah…THOSE need to be washed again.

Do we have anything for lunches? NO. No we do not. So to the grocery story I go. At 10 o’clock at night. Knowing that I have to be up at 4:30 to help get Beezus and The Dude out the door by 5am. (Tuesday mornings at our house suck eggs, y’all.) (The Dude offered to go to the store. But helping with high school math is way harder than a grocery store trip. I made him stay home.)

groceries

I try to not feel guilty that I toss crap like Uncrustables in my cart. Sure, PB&J are the easiest sandwiches in the world to make…but let’s go ahead and make it easier on Jill because I’M STILL NOT DONE WITH OTHER SHIT ONCE I GET HOME FROM THE GROCERY STORE. There’s lots of other good and healthy food in my cart, so I try to make myself feel better. Except…what is my family going to eat for dinner tomorrow while I’m gone at an event? Probably should grab something for them…

Get home and start the load of laundry that I needed to start HOURS ago. Put those pesky towels in the dryer.

Put away groceries. Stopped feeling bad about Uncrustables when I think about how all lunches are practically made.

Send some emails that I meant to send hours ago. Love that emails can be sent so late.

Put clothes in the dryer.

Head to bed. Pretend that I’m going to bed at 9 and not midnight. Laugh at earlier in the day when I thought I might be able to go to bed early.

Remind myself to be grateful that not all nights are like this.